George v Stagecoach South East London & Anor, Court of Appeal - Civil Division, June 26, 2001, [2001] EWCA Civ 1029

Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:George v Stagecoach South East London & Anor
Resolution Date:June 26, 2001
FREE EXCERPT

B3/2001/0865

Neutral Citation Number: [2001] EWCA Civ 1029

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

(His Honour Judge Heppel QC)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC2

Tuesday, 26th June 2001

B e f o r e :

LORD JUSTICE MAY

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JULIA GEORGE Claimant/Respondent

-v-

STAGECOACH SOUTH EAST LONDON AND

KENT BUS COMPANY LIMITED

Defendant/Applicant

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Computer Aided Transcript of the Palantype Notes of

Smith Bernal Reporting Limited

190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG

Tel: 020 7421 4040 Fax: 020 7831 8838

(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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Mr P Russell (instructed by Messrs Kennedys, Brentwood, Essex) appeared on behalf of the Applicant Defendant.

The Respondent Claimant did not appear and was not represented.

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J U D G M E N TSMITH BERNAL

1. LORD JUSTICE MAY: This is a renewed application for permission to appeal, made in sad circumstances by Mr Russell on behalf of Stagecoach South East London and Kent Bus Company Limited, against a decision on liability in a road traffic accident made by His Honour Judge Heppel QC on 3rd April 2001 in the Queen's Bench Division. It is an application which I refused on paper, and I am grateful to Mr Russell for the way in which he has renewed this application and explained to me the way in which he, on behalf of his clients, now puts the case. I put it that way because he has slightly (but only slightly) modified the way in which the late Jonathan Howard put it on paper.

2. It was an accident in which a double-decker bus driven by Mr Colin Bursey collided with the claimant, Mrs Julia George, who was then aged 44, at about ten o'clock in evening on 14th May 1997. The bus was going north up Regent Street. On the left is Hanover Street. Immediately before the left-hand turn into Hanover Street is what is referred to as a pelican or pedestrian crossing. The left turn into Hanover Street, at any rate for a double-decker London bus, is not easy. It is not easy because the entrance to Hanover Street is quite narrow. It is narrowed because the southern pavement of Hanover Street, at the point where it meets Regent Street, goes out of it northwards and so narrows the turn.

3. Mrs George had been out that evening. She was travelling in a taxi to a railway station, but she wanted some money and she asked her taxi to stop in Hanover Street so that she could go to the Woolwich Building Society (or Bank, as it may then have become). This branch of the Woolwich is shown in the very good photographs just inside Hanover Street, on the left-hand southern side as the bus was turning left. The taxi had parked slightly further into Hanover Street and on the right-hand side, so that Mrs George had to cross Hanover Street from north to south to get to the cash machine. It was after she had done this and was going, perhaps in a bit of a hurry, back across Hanover Street that she and the bus collided. The point at which she and the bus collided was approximately in the centre of the road. The point of impact with the bus was not immediately head-on, but on its left-hand side, somewhere in the region of the front passenger door.

4. The area was well lit. Alcohol had no bearing on the accident. The judge described how the bus driver was making a tight turn because of the features of the road junction to which I have referred. It was necessary in order to manoeuvre the bus round this corner for the front off-side of the bus to come quite close to the northern kerb of Hanover Street, and avoiding coming into contact with that kerb was, on the evidence, one of Mr Bursey's concerns.

5. The claimant gave a statement to the police. She suffered head injuries as a result of this accident and she had no recollection of the collision. Her last recollection was, as the judge...

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